Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman and WIM Shamima Akter Liza of Bangladesh became unbeaten champions in the men's and women's group of the Asian Zonal Chess Championship which concluded in Thulhiriya, Sri Lanka yesterday.
Zia earned 7.5 points to clinch the zonal title and ensured his qualification for this year's World Cup which will be held in August in Norway. Zia beat CM Anuruddah of Sri Lanka in the ninth and last round.
GM Reefat Bin Sattar became runner-up while GM Niaz Murshed became third after a tie-breaker separated the two as both players had secured 7 points. GM Enamul Hossain Rajib became 4th with 6 points.
In the women's section, Liza clinched the title with 8.5 points and became the first Bangladeshi woman to qualify for the first round of the Women's World Championship. National champion Sharmin Sultana Shirin became 4th with 6 points. In the last round, Liza beat Faiha Aminath of Maldives while Shirin beat Kulatunga of Sri Lanka.